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Seamus Hennessy reaches the end of Running for Josie journey

Wednesday, 27th February, 2019 1:55pm
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Seamus Hennessy reaches the end of Running for Josie journey


Seamus Hennessy reaches the end of Running for Josie journey




And so we’ve reached the end of the RunningforJosie journey.

And quite the journey it’s been. From Union Glacier in Antarctica to Croagh Patrick’s peak, from the wilds of Melbourne’s Great Ocean Walk to the undulating hills of the Ring of Kerry and so many places in between, a huge number of people have emptied blood, sweat, tears and toes into making RunningforJosie a success.

And I’m delighted to say what a success it has been. Attempting to raise €200,000 for Pieta House and Living Links Tipperary was a pretty ambitious target at the outset and, being brutally honest, one that many people felt was a stretch too far. So to have raised over €240,000 in the end is a fantastic achievement and one that will bring life-saving support to many many people and families across Ireland.

It’s worth taking a moment to understand what the practical impact of the money that has been raised is going to be.

For Living Links Tipperary, the money they received will go directly to helping the charity open a second centre in South Tipperary due to the demand for their services and support. It gives me great fulfilment that this money can remain directly within Tipperary and support Tipperary people in the southern half of the county, and throughout neighbouring counties, to receive the help and support they require.

For Pieta House, the money will help provide their life-saving expertise to many more people and families across the four corners of Ireland desperately in need of support to recover from the emotional and mental well-being challenges they are currently encountering.

It’s fair to say that with the money raised, both charities are going to help hundreds of Irish people and families avoid the pain and devastation of suicide and, for those families who unfortunately have lost a loved one to suicide, it will support them to deal with the incredibly difficult aftermath and the whirlwind of emotions people go through.

When reflecting on the campaign, it’s actually difficult to do justice to the support I received from people across the four corners of the globe: From the encouragement and financial support of the Irish community in the United States led by friend and fellow parishioner of mine, Stephen Carty, to my close friends Mikey Costello and Jenny Hogan and their work to raise over AU$16,000 with their tribe of 20 young men and women completing the Great Melbourne Walk to former schoolmate of mine John Verling who climbed Mont Blanc to a pair of siblings who, anonymously, donated from Myanmar and Hong Kong, RunningforJosie literally went worldwide.

And that doesn’t even include the support here at home. GAA clubs, community groups, schools, families, individuals, current and former work colleagues and many more besides came together to run, walk, climb, cycle, dance and donate to RunningforJosie and to become a part of a campaign to encourage each other to talk when times are tough and to support more people avoid the scourge of suicide.

And ultimately, I hope this will be the lasting effect of RunningforJosie. To know that to talk is to show love and care for yourself. That to talk is strong not weak. That to talk is the brave thing to do. That to talk is what supports each of us to navigate our way through the tough times that are a part of life. Tough times in life are inevitable and we need to have our coping mechanisms to work our way through them!

And never give up. I went to a dark place battling an injury in the depths of a marathon in Antarctica but resolved to keep going and not give in.

To conclude, Barack Obama put it well in his farewell speech as President when he said: “For now, whether you're young or young at heart, I do have one final ask of you…. I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change—but in yours.”

And I’d echo the final two lines most importantly. Believe that you have to power to create change in the world. Because you do have it. We all have the power to bring about change and in this instance, to support Irish men and women to know that suicide is not the answer and it never will be.

The answer is to talk and to do what you can to support and listen to others who need a listening ear. And to reach out and ask someone to listen if it’s you who need the listening ear.

If you have read this far, thank you for obliging me and thank you for your support of RunningforJosie, it has meant an incredible amount to me.

Suffer, continue, succeed. F.F.


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